Simple Definition of illiterate
: not knowing how to read or write
: having or showing a lack of knowledge about a particular subject
: not grammatically correct
Full Definition of illiterate
1 : having little or no education; especially : unable to read or write <an illiterate population>
2 a : showing or marked by a lack of familiarity with language and literature <an illiterate magazine> b : violating approved patterns of speaking or writing
3 : showing or marked by a lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of a particular field of knowledge <musically illiterate>
Examples of illiterate
Constantine is listed in the 1870 census as illiterate; 10 years later, he had learned to read and write. And when, in 1906, the local “colored school” was slated for destruction, Constantine arranged to save it by having it moved to this property. —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 1 Feb. 2006
Martin is not illiterate but I think close to it. I never saw him read a newspaper, for instance. —Hayden Carruth, Reluctantly, 1998
In a time when nearly everyone was illiterate, before newspapers, radio, and television, how could the religious and iconographic detail of these apparitions have been so similar? —Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1996
She didn't want anyone to know that she was illiterate.
She is politically illiterate and has never voted in an election.
He's illiterate when it comes to computers.
Origin of illiterate
Middle English, from Latin illiteratus, from in- + litteratus literate
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of illiterate
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